Cultivation and further processing of Artemisia annua in Eastern Africa
Artemisinin won from the plant Artemisia annua (mugwort) is one of the basic components of the currently most effective medicine for the treatment of malaria. In the fight against malaria, action medeor supports the cultivation and further treatment of the plant to produce the medicine in Tanzania and Kenya.
As there are only a few international pharmaceutical companies that produce malaria medicines on the basis of Artemisinin and as these medicines are comparatively expensive, access to these highly effective medicines for malaria patients is not adequately secured in most African countries.
That is why action medeor is engaged in the local production of high quality yet affordable malaria medicines.
A problem during production is the availability of the agent Artesunate which has to be bought at high prices, mostly from Asia. This is where action medeor steps in. The plant Artemisia annua, which is currently mainly cultivated in Asia, also produces good harvests in the African highlands at altitudes of 1,000 meters and above. Action medeor is involved in a project that supports the local cultivation of the plant in East Africa. The extraction, i.e. isolation of the substance Artemisinin from the Artimisia-leaves takes place in a facility of the cooperation partner Advanced Bioextracts (ABE Ltd.) in Kenya. The common goal of ABE and action medeor is to optimise the extraction process and to develop a more effective and cost-efficient method for the conversion (derivatisation) of Artemisinin to Artesunate and Arthemether. Ideally, the derivatisation takes place directly in East Africa, so that local drug-producers can then get the precursors for their medicines. The adequate supply of the necessary medicines for malaria patients in East Africa is supported by the fact that the complete process beginning with the cultivation of the plant leading up to the ready medicine takes place locally. Good cooperation and coordination of and among all actors involved makes sure there are no shortages in supply.